"Socialism is precisely the religion that must overwhelm Christianity. … In the new order, Socialism will triumph by first capturing the culture via infiltration of schools, universities, churches and the media by transforming the consciousness of society."
by:
Antonio Gramsci
(1891-1937) Italian Marxist theoretician and politician, “class warrior”
Source:
1915
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Reader comments about this quote:
They are succeeding! Like termites they are destroying all our institutions slowly but relentelessly from the inside. Will we become aware soon enough, before the edifice collapses?
 -- aldo, morgan hill     
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    Divide and conquer is the name of the game.
     -- Anon     
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    It seems unusual for a well-known Marxist Socialist leader and thinker like Antonio Gramsci to allude to socialism as a religion. Could you please provide a reference for this quotation from his writings? Thank you.
     -- Gabe, Tel Aviv     
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    Yeah he probably masturbated thinking about his mom also. These socialist are all freaks.
     -- Diddo, New Town     
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    Socialism is a cancer on society...it eventually kills its host.
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    We already have the liberal democrat Billy Graham!
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
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    He has got it all wrong! Early Christianity had a strong "socialist" mentality. They shared with each other, they preached humility and service to others, It was taken over by the rich and powerful especially in Rome in order to continue the subjugation of the people. Jesus attacked the established hierarchy of the day of the Sadducess and preached a universal brotherhood. The divide and conquer was done by those in power to prevent "power to the people". Americas Christian start with the Pilgrims, and Puritans was based on power to the poeple. The right wing continues to use religion to subjugate the masses.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    To Waffler: Jesus Christ never said "Force they neighbor at the point of a government sword to be a good Samaritan." The Romans and our national cancer, white elitist "Liberal" and republicrat freaks, did/do exactly that. Amerika needs "Liberal" season before it's too late. Don't understand? Start here: http://willowtown.com/promo/quotes.htm
     -- waypasthadenough, Taylor County, Kentucky. CSA     
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    Socialism is the exact opposite of Christianity. Christianity is about freedom. Socialism is about coercion. Unfortunately, this strategy has been very successful.
     -- Ben, Orem, UT     
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    I don't tjhink Gamsci was talking about religion or Christianity so much as he was THE CHURCH. Anyone who has studied history knows that Augustine and Mohammed were both and fundamentally about control not freedom. The Church as we all know picked the rulers in Europe for a spell, and The Church in France owned a significant part of the property and together with the King and so called nobility ran the country. The people were out in the cold as usual. Voltaire, no socialist him, said "crush the infamous thing" in reference to The Church. So give the socialist a break, he isn't saying much more than Voltaire, or the Pilgrims and Quakers who all abhorred what The Church had become, an albatross around the peoples neck and anything but a champion of freedom.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Good Point Waff...And apparently the lessons of the CHURCH have found their way into government policy. Control control control...
     -- J Carlton, Calgary     
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    Absolute truth. Socialism is a religion with government its god. Morality is defined as what ever promotes the advancement of socialism. That is the motivation of the left. True morality is just in the way. As does the constitution, adherence to an absolute moral code inhibits what can be done on behalf of the state and therefore inhibits the advancement of socialism. Amazing that a socialist actually fesses up to the true nature of socialism - an alternate religion. Notice how Waffler squeals when he reads the truth - especially when it comes from one of his own.
     -- warren, olathe     
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    Exactly warren, everybody needs something to believe in and rather than believe in themselves and the power they possess in ignorance of it some put their faith in others and all eventually fell into the greed game due to the industrial revolution. Now the greedy rule our country and they have become salvation to the masses to fix their problems and put them back on track to their falsely perceived vision of the American dream. More material things than one knows what to do with. Government is truly a religion, money is its life's blood and man is its master and so god. Heaven to them is the money and power to control the masses for their benefit or livelihood and the feeling of being gods on earth by their mastery over the populations of the world. It is this idol worship (that really boils down to self worship) the left seeks to deny because that's exactly what it is and they religiously believe in what they say they believe in. Faith in oneself is not the same as self worship so there is a difference in the way each kind views the rights of others. Well said warren.
     -- Anon     
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    Have you all never heard of the Christian Socialists in Germany and other European States. There are forms of "socialism" everywhere. Part of our problem is simply vocabulary. Warren I did not know that I was squealing alone nuanceing. Have you ever heard of nuance Warren? I doubt that an absolutist such as yourself has..
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    I have here given multiple legal definitions, court renderings, and / or other wise, showing that Socialism is a stand alone religion. Such stand alone religion must eliminate all other forms of public worship to fulfill its totalitarian nature. As in the past, when early forms of Hinduism and Greek Mythology mingled with political Judism, evolving into gnostic Christianity - a mongrel new religion that was antagonistic to the original principles and doctrines of Christ was formed. So it is when extra religions, such as Socialism, are mixed with Christianity, that the mongrel new religion is again antagonistic to the original principles and doctrines of Christ. The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel gave ultimate freedom as a basis of worship, while socialism is a tyrannical belief system of slaves and despots, mandating absolute obedience (compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, larceny with impunity, etc.). Do not interpret Christianity by the broad stroke of a stare decisis of statist organizations or adherents of an amalgamated mongrelization but rather, by original principles, sayings and teachings
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Sorry, he was way off the mark with this one. Ben perhaps you and Mike should get together. When will you on this blog understand and become intelligent when discussing Socialism, Communism and Christianity; they have nothing to do with each other, only that there are some Christians who practice goodness and others that don't -- the British merged Socialism and Christianity towards the end of the 19 century but its power didn't last long. I will not fire a tirade anti-Christian rhetoric as you on this blog know where I stand as far as my opinion is concerned. At one point, about the mid 19th century 'Socialism' and 'Communism' were considered opposites even though communism founded its roots in socialism -- Karl Marx and Engels coined communism out of the socialist philosophy. And in 1918 the Socialist-Revolutionary Party was dissolved by the Bolsheviks after only one day. The wealth of a nation is taken from those who labored to produce it by those who labored to steal it (those who exploited the working class). When the workers wanted schools, hospitals, and a fair return for their labor they were called socialists and communists. If it wasn't for the socialist movements of the past we would still be working 15 hour days and children would still be in the mills -- there would be no health care for the old and disabled, no subsistence for the workers who were later kicked out because they were too old or ill too work. All the workers wanted were equal opportunity in education and social well-being, a roof over their head and food. Later it was philosophized that socialism would create harmony and less government -- sadly, that too got exploited -- yes, and even Libertarians, well some, were socialist's. It was their design to have less government and have humanity control its own destiny. But alas like all good intentions it was exploited by those who saw a window of opportunity, namely greed and power. Stalin himself said that Russia wasn't ready for socialism and we all know where he went with his philosophy. The Russian Communist party undermined the original socialist ideals of the revolution. Even before the revolution of 1917-1923 America had its own Socialist Labor Party of America which became the Social Democratic Party -- this all fizzled out because of WW1 and then came the Communist Party USA. So, the gist of all this is that to truly understand the connections and intricacies of any partnering between Communism, Socialism and Christianity you must first do a lot of reading.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Robert, thats all nice but, nothing you said changes anything Ben or I said. And, as you alluded to, communism is an interpretive form of socialism. Fascism and Progressiveism are also interpretive forms of socialism. All three interpretive forms (communism, fascism & progressivism) are ecclesiastical extensions forming separate religions
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Mike, come to that anything could be interpretive. I'm sorry, but I disagree with your assumptions. We must be honest to the intention of the original concept not some mythological ideology. Mike, I'm beginning to feel you may be blinded by your own religion and that all you see is through that belief you have. It's unconscionable to associate, as an interpretive forms, subjects that have no base in ecclesiastical instruments.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Robert, you stated my point exactly. We must be honest to the intention of the original concept, not some mythological, method of, or amalgamated ideology" The interpretive I spoke of was the method of application. Socialism is a religion of no individual sovereigns, force, and mandated dictates. Original Christianity was each individual was a sovereign heir to the King of the Universe with the law of nature and nature's God defining ultimate freedom. Socialism creates tyrannical cannons of men while a Christian nation defines eternal law(s) through codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes etc. as best benefits any given society. Socialism's theocracy declares man's rights from an elitist power center. Christianity declares all rights are inalienable as a faculty of birth. Socialism creates a caste system of rich, poor, - black / white, worker / employer, gay / straight, etc. Original Christianity accepted each and every child of God as equal (sinner / sanctified, man / women, Christian / Atheist to Zen, etc.) The purity of the 2 religions are antithetical, one to the other. Any merger of the 2 religions is antagonistic to each of the original religions. The original Christian founders understood the difference between secular government and a theocracy, thus the separation. For socialism "Socialism is precisely the religion that must overwhelm Christianity." That is not my blinded by religion interpretation, that is as stated by original research, comparison of original concepts, and a statement of history repeating itself.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Mike, thank you for your thoughtful reply. The nuts and bolts are not what makes the clock tick it is the imagination and that is far more important than knowledge. That which defines right from wrong is not religion, socialism, or any order or authority; it is Self, the only true religion in the Universe; it is absolute and nothing comes before it. Amalgamated ideology - is not the marriage of socialism and theocracy counter point to that argument? Before venturing any further it would be enlightening to be privy to the "original research" and the comparison of original concepts, you spoke of. I believe socialism is more at peace with a secular society than any theocracy. Socialism was brought about by the need to share wealth in particular for the less fortunate; it brought about hospitals, better working hours, care for the elderly and much more. Compared to the selfishness I see today it may be a philosophy that needs to return. By the way America is the most socialized country in the world.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Robert, again you are probably right, if America is not the most socialized country in the wold, it is at least in the top 5. Your characterization of Socialism is the propaganda set forth to justify the belief system, not what it 'is', what it ultimately 'does', or what it is in the end 'for' (the in fact result). Socialism is a religion and when implemented in man's day to day government is a theocracy. Besides all legal definitions of a religion, Socialism mandates non-eternal obligations, calling them law (outside positive law or, the law of nature or of nature's God) as a belief system to bring about an end to a means. Again, Religion is "real piety in practice, consisting in the performance of all known duties to . . . our fellow men. (Bouviers Law Dictionary); per corporeal expression, God is, or exists, according to the dictates of ones own conscience, being how, where, or what he/she/it may; based on authoritarian tenants, religion "is an ideologue's set of beliefs, values, and practices, unthinkingly accepted as conventional" (The Law Dictionary), or "a specific fundamental set of beliefs and practices generally agreed upon by a number of persons or sects" (Regent University) I could go on and on with legal definitions and court decisions as I have in the past but, none the less, Socialism is a stand alone religion. If you try to narrow the definition of religion to exclusively define Christianity (or derivative thereof), your perversion of the term, concept, and word then allows (and even tends to justify) the tyranny of the statist theocracy that now infests this nation.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Where you guys may be erring especially Mike is in his failure to recognize nuance and cultural syncretism. That is when people or as Robert said selves take sentiments, ideas and values from two or more belief systems and meld them into a new belief system. Christianity is interpreted by numerous people in different ways, so many denominations disagree with each other on significant parts even of the bible, so with socialism. Socialism written small with an s instead of an S is simply a recognition that "no man is an island unto himself". It is a recognition that we can and maybe should do things together. When the pioneers circled their gons during an Indian attack they were being socialist. Mikes postings of definitions reminds me of the Communists or Socialist pigs in Orwells 1984, No nuance, no thinking, just unblinking servitude to the posted definitions. Good stuff Robert.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Waffler, lol, spoken like a true leftist, when overwhelming facts get in the way you attack the personality. I know how set meanings that harmonize with law, structure society, establish integrity, and protect equality for all get in the way of your desired slavery for all. I still smile when I think of when I gave legal definitions to license, backed up by court decisions and your answer was something to the effect that, that's not what it meant to you. When you refuse to accept what the law of nature and of nature's God is, and make up your own definitions to words such as socialist there will never be a way to understand the difference between secular and religion. One of the reasons the current statist theocracy's (republican and democrat) eradication of freedom and liberty has been so complete is its gradual word definition changes (inclusive of blurring the difference between secular and religious). The original definitions of words and concepts are no longer available to the general public so as to stir the hearts of men. As a religion, socialism can pass cannons contrary to gravity, property rights, and the nobility of life but, sooner or later, justice, as relates to the law of nature and of nature's God - natural law - will counteract the immoral atrocities heaped upon the noble heirs of the King of the universe.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Mike, please provide proof of God's nature (I don't want myth or faith based ideology). I am subject only to my own dictates (without of course the forced dictates of religious fundamentalism or an oligarchy). I do not need Leviticus or any other so called Law (written by man to subjugate the masses) to understand and live a moral and ethical life -- the only true law is the law of Self (The Universal Law); it is the law by which we wake in the morning and go about our day. Order comes about because we need social processes to function in a harmonious existence, it does not come about because man decides so - it is OUR NATURE, OUR SELF. I have found in my travels that the law of self is my best companion, I need no book to tell me the true law, it guides me to the true nature of things, not some other ideology or demagoguery (be it individual or societal); and, then the true nature of law is very simple not complex at all, its symbiotic. All nature depends on this relationship with its environment, not dictated by any God, person or ideology. As Waffler pointed out "we are all socialist's at heart" (I think that's what he was getting at). When we left our shadows in the cave we lived by being compassionate and understanding the needs of others and helping with those needs - and the the split came between those compassionate and those who were greedy and wanted power (nothing has changed) . The American Indians understood the need to have this relationship with nature, they had no written law telling them how they should act they knew how they should act -- it was SELF the only true God. Waffler keep on bashing away we will get some love into these folk. Sorry for the rant...
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Archer, you are conspicuous by you absence...
     -- RBESRQ     
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    RBE, I wrote a long post but my computer crashed in the middle. There's a lot of good conversation here. When debating 'God' or 'socialism', we really must define the terms. What is socialism? What is 'Christianity'? Consider that both Christianity and Socialism are power structures. The Catholic Church became the most powerful entity in Europe (and a far cry from anything Jesus was supposed to be about) and today owns more land in the world (tax-free) second only to the Queen of England (the British Crown holds title to all the land in any British Commonwealth like Canada, Australia, South Africa, and on and on). Canonical law is the basis of all law as we know it today. The power and control of the Church was unmatched and not always welcomed. Various reformational sects branched out and gradually challenged the Catholic Church's power. The ideological differences of the myriad of denominations of 'Christianity' certainly make it hard to pin point what exactly is Christianity. Divide and conquer, and essentially that is what has happened to the Catholic Church. These are power structures, and the intent of communism was to do away with it altogether in exchange for an even grander power structure based on the ideology of Marx. A good look at today certainly shows that the planks of the Communist Manifesto have replaced 'Christian' ideology (which isn't too difficult since the Christians can't even agree). Men are attracted to power whether political or supernatural -- oh, to appease the gods so that they will give me power (in whatever form). Well, God may be dead (Nietzsche), but the desire for power is not. Is Socialism a religion? Well, it takes fanatics to make it 'progress' and its followers are as adamant as any Christian fundamentalist, but I think the convincing point is to look at the socialist leaders: they have become drunk with power, they actually believe they are saviors, that the world revolves around them and that they are the 'chosen' ones to remake the world in their image. They sound the same from the podium as the priests in the pulpit -- the same hypnotic language and tone. The goal for religionists as well as socialists is to win the hearts and minds of the people, to subject them to years of programming to make good little followers out of them. They both use fear as the modus operandi for domesticating people into sheep. But what is the god of socialism? POWER. Absolute worship of power above the natural born rights of every person alive. I do believe that liberation is a constant process, and as the corruptions of the Church are exposed, so too are the corruptions of socialism, and in either case, revolution of some kind is inevitable. But neither Socialism or Christianity can overwhelm Truth for very long. RBE, one cannot 'love' their oppressors. I don't know what version of Christianity Mike practices, but I can count on one hand the number of Christians I know that can clearly express what he expresses so well. For me, I am a Golden Ruler -- pretty simple stuff, treat people the way you would like to be treated or leave them alone! Garbage In, Garbage Out -- the programmer's creed. We could go on forever on this -- how about trying to identify the actual planks of one's own ideology and see how many we have in common? We can start with whether man has any 'rights' at all and go from there. Not sure how to rate the quote, I believe Gramsci is correct although I am against rule by Christianity or Socialism -- Liberty and Responsibility, that is clearer.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Archer, excellent! Very well said! Robert, you either didn't read what I wrote or, you didn't understand it. You again nearly said what I was trying to say. The 17th, and 18th Century phrase "the law of nature or of nature's God." (though ultimately understood as deriving from Abraham, Isaac, and Israel's Father in Heaven's origination of natural or positive law) was not meant to be religious indoctrination or application but, is a concept that the law was given (as per your dialog) with or without man's acceptance (inclusive of gravity, physics, fiscal, nobility of life, etc. and the ultimate justice there related - sort of a Deist type belief). From a Judeo / Christian doctrinal perspective, that which is secular is that law which was given to all and, that which would effect an innocent 3rd party. By way of example: In the ten commandments at Exodus 20:3 it states: "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." That edict is only for the individual and not for the masses and does not effect an innocent 3rd party. It is religious in nature and therefor can not be legislated in a secular government. At Exodus 20:13 it states: "Thou shalt not kill." (kill from the Hebrew translates from the term ratsach [raw-tsakh'} which actually means to murder; so most accurately Exodus 20:13 should read: Thou shalt not murder. Because murder violates an innocent 3rd party and is given to all, it should be implemented into secular government by codes, ordinances, regulation, rules, statutes, etc. to best address a societies common law expressions. Laws on larceny, fiscal laws, etc. all effect innocent 3rd parties and should also be addressed withing secular law (the law of nature or nature's God - natural law - positive law, etc.). When a church or any group of believers implement force or such rules as are outside said positive law, it is by way of religious tyranny. The Constitution separated secular law from religious rule better than any government I've been able to research to date. I don't want to live under Catholocism's, Islam's, the current statist theocracy's, etc. cannons. Defining the terms as were originally given in freedom and liberty helps stop the tyranny of ignorance.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Robert, you read like your putting everything through a 'I hate anything with the word God in it' filter. For the believer, its a source. For the non-believer it just means 'as a faculty of birth'. To be offended by the term in any way is to suffer a most ugly prejudice.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Archer, thank you for your kind retort and for entering the fray. Just a couple of things. First, though socialism has been and still is associated with communism it obviously has been seriously tainted -- as someone once said: All communists are socialists, but not all socialists are communists. Communism is a system in which the economy and society is controlled by a totalitarian state, by a single political party, with absolute control. Socialism is more equitable, as it does not wish to control society but instead wishes a fair exchange of wealth to those who are the workers. Archer, you are so vitriolic against socialism there must be some past that is affecting your sensibility. Marxism used socialism as a door for dominate control; Marx knew that following the trade unionist movement in Great Britain was a key to push through his political agenda of communism -- socialism was used as a platform for his own ideology -- call it communism if you wish. Socialism has its roots as far back as the Magna Carta, when power was distributed to the nobles from the absolute power of the King. I don't think socialists would shout fire and brimstone from the pulpit; they leave that to right wing fundamentalists, brown-shirts, fascists, megalomaniacs, etc. Socialists may be as passionate about their beliefs as priests are about theirs but that can be said for any orator who believes firmly in his own convictions -- just look at history's list, from the Roman Senate to today's Town Hall hooligans. Socialism has always been about fairness (I know you see otherwise). Unfortunately, power hungry tyrants and despots have used socialism for their own end, to rally support and once in power it turns quickly to demagoguery. Socialism is powerless for the very reason it was born out of oppression and inequity for the working class. It was never the intent, with regard to the essence of socialism, to become a single power structure that belongs to fascism, communism, and religious fundamentalism. Now for the interesting part of your retort 'The Challenge' I'm up for it, where shall we start; you suggested we should start with our own ideological planks to see how many we have in common. OK, let's get the ball rolling (we can go deeper into those planks once we have identified their titles. 1. Kindness, that is my religion (I think the Dalai Lama also said that). 2. Compassion for all sentient beings (you could start by being a vegetarian). 3. The right to be free from political, religious and bureaucratic dictates, and last but by no means least number 4; to have the right to be left alone without encumbrance of government or religion -- unfortunately, both government and religion are currently affecting numbers 3 and 4. So, you see we do have some common ground. Any minute a Gamma ray from a super nova could end this discourse. I believe the only thing that would remain would be the Atman or Atma -- so you see, that doesn't really make me an Atheist. Mike, thank you also for continuing the thread. No, I don't hate your God or anyone's Gods, I just don't believe in your Gods or any Gods. I'm also not offended by your Gods or your belief in them; I am only offended when it concerns my planks 3 and 4. I most definitely don't harbor any ugly prejudices as you put it. I am for the freedom of all religions and will fight along side you to that end. "Thou shalt have no other gods before me." has been responsible for the death of millions, so it's something not to be taken lightly or individually. Exodus 20.13 has been totally disregarded by many Christian's - what should be their punishment? Unfortunately the church has interfered and continues to interfere with our secular government so it is very difficult for me to separate the two.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Robert, I'm very much with you on 3 and 4. Murder is not a religious issue (even though it is often justified by the religious - Christian, Socialist, etc.), it is a secular issue. Thou shalt have no other gods before me has proven to be more deadly, as pursued by socialist theocracies, (the German Socialist Party, Soviet / Chinese Communism, Progressivism, etc.) than any other any religious persuasion's history. All murder should be addressed as to societies codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes, etc. as harmonize with natural / positive law.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    OK, then, RBE, you've made your declaration -- it is an individual declaration (as opposed to a government dictate to the citizens) and according to your own stand, you would not and could not make anyone else do the same thing, true? (See #3 & #4.) "Love thy neighbor" would cover your #1 & #2. Yes, a nation of kind and compassionate people is a great ideal -- I believe the Founders expressed that notion many times, that a free people must be a 'virtuous' people (if being kind and compassionate isn't a virtue, I don't know what is). What you have expressed is what was to be protected from the un-virtuous, from those who seek power, from those who seek dominion over everything and everyone (yes, they still exist in large numbers). If all men were saints, there would be no need for government. But we live in a real world in which in nature, we all live off of other living things whether animal or vegetable. And man is an animal, a hunter, a forager, and ultimately the #1 predator in the world. That 'beast' is within us, and perhaps that is what compassionate 'religions' have always tried to tame, our inner wild nature. And it is why mankind has also developed ways to defend itself from fellow predators. You could call this self-defense of one's 'rights' but who decides what they are? I would say there are no rights in Nature only responsibilities: does a rat have the right to not be eaten by a cat? I would say, no, but the rat has the responsibility to survive and not get eaten by a cat. In Nature, might makes right. But among animals of the same species, there are inevitable pecking orders and territories - - some species are hive-like, others band together in packs, herds or schools. Others live primarily in solitude. And within the human kingdom, we can find all these qualities among us -- there are those that wish to travel with the pack and those that wish to be independent. So what is a 'right'? It seems to me that it's a dog-eat-dog world out there, and it is survival of the fittest. Eventually, in a scenario like that there will be someone or class of persons that have banded together for their own mutual benefit and often at the expense of others not in the group. When this band raids the homes of others, it says 'might makes right' while those being robbed and killed certainly know that this is 'bad' for them. So within the human world, the concepts of good and bad are born: to live good, to die bad (that is unless you are talking about the other guys in which for them to live would be bad for us and if they were destroyed it would be good for us). And thus the concept of 'right' is born and thus our 'rights' which are simply, well, right. When the colonists made their Declaration of Independence they declared what they called their 'rights.' The King, however, said otherwise. Now this is important: our so-called 'rights' were not respected until we fought for them, until we over powered those that sought to keep us subject to their dictates -- other human beings, mind you, who said they were subjecting us for our own good. Just because a King or a Congress has power does not automatically make the exercise of that power 'right.' The founders wished to break free from the arbitrary rule of Kings and councils, and to live under a system of governance based upon law, not men. As Mike has described so often, the American system of jurisprudence was to best reflect what they believed to be the Natural Law. (There is not enough space here to define Natural Law -- I suggest reading Locke or Bastiat.) Mosaic Law had survived many thousands of years, and the Christian tenets attempted to reform the 'eye for an eye' rule of law into one of compassion, forgiveness, and the courage with which to endure the persecutions of those that wished to dominate them. Similar histories follow the Vedic, Hindu, and Buddhist religions each being a reformation of the other. (And by the way, RBE, the Atma is the Self and the Atman is God according to the Vedas from which this concept came.) Another common tenet of the wisdom found in religious and philosophical study is that what we do has an impact. Jesus said it plainly, "As you sow, so shall you reap." In programmer-speak it is "Garbage In, Garbage Out." The Golden Rule is "Do unto others as you would have done unto you." These are all nuggets of gold IMHO. Now when it comes to Law, there is a difference between a dictate "Thou shalt xxx" and a limit "Thou shalt not xxx." As good as intentions may be, we really cannot make laws that require us to do something -- that is oppression. We cannot make a law for example that says, "Everyone must buy a gun." But we can make laws like "No law shall restrict the right to defend oneself with deadly force." If you really look at it, 'laws' that are passed to protect Liberty are not granting 'rights' but protecting them. Laws that we must become vegetarian would be a tremendous violation of people's rights -- Hitler was a vegetarian, and he certainly could have declared that had he been around long enough. Here is the deal: Compassion cannot be legislated! Does the world need more compassion? YES! But to enforce compassion by threat of force is not compassion at all. As far as Socialism is concerned, RBE is right, it is always the stepping stone to totalitarian rule whether Fascist, Communist, or any other dictatorial power structure in which the 'rights' of the people are whatever the rulers say they are. (This should answer RBE's question of my 'vitriol' for socialism -- socialism is a con perpetrated by those who seek to rule.) "You have a right to be taken care of by the community when you cannot take care of yourself." That is the noble creed of what I call collectivists which can be socialists, Christians, or a large 'party.' However, what we are talking about is merely 'insurance' and there is no assurance in this world -- it is a gamble, it is full of risk, and perhaps what we need is more personal responsibility and some COURAGE instead of being taken in by these shysters parading the poor and down-trodden on our networks every night Saying "something must be done!" Yes, something must be done -- the very compassion that is needed from everyone is what should be done. But no, government is supposed to be the cure of our social ills -- but how can that be when government is full of power hungry politicians and bankers who own the Earth? RBE, under socialist rule, your #3 & #4 are in fact impossible -- they are only possible under the protective umbrella of limited government and the balance of powers with all power residing within and coming from the people that comprise the nation. An atheist might well find himself alone when typically it is the independent religious congregations (primarily Christian) that promote felicity, charity, mutual helpfulness, and compassion. There does not need to be a God, for people to gather in fellowship and gratitude for their lives, their families, and their neighbors -- sometimes referred to as 'love.' I am sorry, but the government does NOT love us! For the most part government is there to punish those that violate the rights of others. Justice is blind. BUT the jury may exercise compassion because the State is not supposed to take sides, they are to administer the laws, and if the law is to kill meat eaters then that is what the administrators will do. If the law is that you must be sterilized in an effort to reduce population, the administrators will do it. If the law is to arrest anyone who exposes government corruption, then they will do it. The point is that in order for a socialist government to do what it wants to do, we the people must surrender our rights to do it. And as each right disappears silently and over generations, the nation soon degenerates into a totalitarian state with the people having lost all rights, all property, and all choice (except to choose from column A or column B from the government choices). Nazi Germany started implementing socialist policies for the nation under democratic rule, and little by little, the German people found themselves under a dictatorship. You say it can't happen here? It IS happening here, and even you are defending it. I am sorry, but it is all about raiding the nation's treasury now -- and that is already gone, and we want more and more, so let's raid the property of the other guys! "Give me health care!! It is my right!" BS! We all came into this world wherever and however we did -- we have a right to live but not a right to take life to support our own -- or do we?... OK, that's enough from me. ;-) Oh, my planks: I agree with all of RBE's planks, and they are mine, too. I guess we need to determine how these ideals are to be instilled in mankind -- by volition or by force (if that is even possible).
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Wow Archer, well said! Further, an ability to determine that which is natural law, as differs from religious canons, will help in advancing Robert's 4 planks.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Robert I find your 3 and 4 to be similar goals but both equally naive. Anytime a group of people live in a society or have a government they will be in violation of your goals to be unencumbered by politics, religion or "bureaucratic dictates" I would take to mean law.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    I am traveling today so I will get back on this when I return on Tuesday. Let's keep this thread going... Well done! Robert
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Okay!
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Robert, to address #3 & #4 : "To take from one, because it is thought that his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, 'the guarantee to every one of a free exercise of his industry, & the fruits acquired by it.'" The bolded text is what I consider to be another plank (Jefferson calls it "the first principle of association") if not already part of #3/4. 'Principles of Association' -- I like that!
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    I would add to the plank list The individual is sovereign with his hired servant(s) limited to administering the master's rights (the individuals representing the sovereign having no inherent rights but, duties only to carry out the united sovereign's lawful [common law, not canon law] administrations in the public domain). Such would be inclusive of no compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes and a substantive money system.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Hi, I'm back, a little late but back in one piece except for one tooth, sorry I'm late getting back to you. Also, I have been a little preoccupied with the passing away of a great Senator Ted Kennedy -- he did so much for so many. He was one of the few politicians that, according to your opinion on Natural Law, practiced Natural Law (OK he made that terrible mistake when he was drunk one night, but I think he made up for it with his 47 years in politics). As mentioned, he did make a bad mistake which unfortunately stopped him from becoming President, but, I'm sure if that fatal night didn't occur he would have been assassinated, but, that's another story. What good deeds will the GOP do to make up for the millions they have killed? Mike, the conflicts as a result of socialism and communism are small fry when compared to religious persecutions down throughout the ages; from the age of Abraham, with its three distinct spin-off religions; the Aztecs, and the brutal rituals of ripping out hearts; the 800 years of European religious wars; the 20 million in China slaughtered because of religion; the continued persecutions and massacres of one religion against another; and the list goes on and on. Religion has caused nothing but suffering, hatred, intolerance, and death, both to the religious and those who are not. This is why our founders wanted a definite separation of church and state and why the Bill of Rights is so important. The core argument here is that religious people are meant to do good deeds -- in other words, good people are responsible for good deeds and bad people are responsible for bad deeds. So, what makes this a terrible dilemma is that religious people are doing deeds against what they preach while bad people are doing exactly what they preach, therefore no hypocrisy. Liberality, on the other hand, has been the giver of life because its primary position is one of fairness, though at times it makes terrible blunders because of giving to the wrong people, but what's important is its motives and the direction in which it moves. It's amazing how pedestrian we are when it comes to throwing out words which were once good words and turning then into negative statements to fit our own personal political rhetoric -- like, Progress, Liberal, Social, and so on. If murder is addressed by natural/positive laws which you say are reflected by societies codes, ordinances, regulations, statutes, and rules, etc., then natural/positive law has a lot to answer for -- it is obviously doing a very poor job. It has been my experience that Natural Law has been passed down more by Liberalism than any other ism. I'm not saying liberalism is without fault, as all ism have their blind spots. What I am saying is that liberalism has been responsible for nearly all positive changes for those who have suffered under the yoke of the powerful religious/corporate and government run capitalistic theocracy. Barbara Bush said it well "Giving frees us from the familiar territory of our own needs by opening our minds to the unexplained worlds occupied by the needs of others." Natural Law is not considered by those who abuse the very tenets of their own dictates. It is considered theory in every respect. Its divine providence has from Thomas Aquinas to Haakonssen has had its umbilical cord firmly attached to religion and as I'm an atheist that alone is enough to provide me with evidence that Natural Law has been severely manipulated and therefore I discount any religious backed theory on the subject. Since 327, Christians have been the instrument of torture, hatred, and intolerance -- look at the situation even today when the church ploughs millions into campaigns that prevents minority legislation Why are the good Christian's so silent when they see this kind of evil -- the same applies to the Muslim extremists, the good Muslims should rise up against their own extremist but they don't because like the Christians, they are happy with the status quo and don't rock the boat. Give me an atheist who discusses natural law and then you have peeked my interest. If Human beings are to participate in Natural Law, the law Aquinas and other latter advocates affirm, they must first show they behave by their own principles and dictates, then they may bring others into a sympathetic discourse. Just saying that Natural Law is the primary base for a moral and ethical government and individual behavior is arrogant to say the least does. There are many philosophies that also consider moral and ethical behavior as a platform from which to live your life, which I personally prefer over Aquinas, Locke and others. The Eternal law I speak of (The Universal Principle) and that which I have referred too many times is my preferred base, even though it may be contrary to our governments laws, regulations, and dictates, etc. Archer, the Atman and or Atma, as identified in Hinduism means Soul (the supreme soul and the individual soul are recognized by traditional Vedic philosophies as being One -- the great Self; the universal life-principle; other roots include 'breath', meaning Soul. There are two understandings/interpretations of the Vedas with regard to the individual soul and the supreme soul. The Supreme soul (God if you wish) is referred to as Brahman. Advaita Vedanta sees the soul as monism and (both are one) where Dvaita Vedante see it as dualistic. But once the dust has settled both positions agree that Brahman is both Atman and Atma. Jainism also uses the Atman to refer to the Self. There are dualistic and monistic understandings but the key here is that the individual soul and the universal soul (God) are one of the same -- that is my understanding and the understanding of many Vedic translators, so the Atman, Atma, Brahman are all beliefs that end with the supreme being SELF. I could go on and start talking about the beginning which most religions today have highjacked -- 5000-6000 years ago (kuru and paandu dynasties) the major tenet was "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." The Upanishads is full of language that is used in many religious writings today. The Mahabharata is still today the longest literary epic poem in the world. It has 18 books and the Bhagavad-Gita is one of them. The Upanishads were a number of gurus/elders of which there were ten principle Upanishads who are translated in the book 'The Upanishads.' Definitely worth reading. My favorite verse from Kena 2:3 (eighth century BC) in the Upanishads is: 'He by whom it is not [since it is beyond thought], by him it is thought; he by whom it is known, knows it not [since it is unknowable]. It is not understood by those who understand it; it is understood by those who do not understand it.' This I believe is the closest to the original text, translated by FMax-Muller and revised by Suren Navlakha. There are other translations of this famous verse but the essence is the same within them all. Sorry for my rumblings. The beast is within us all but so is compassion and it is compassion that has been able to keep us alive from the first days we stepped out of the caves -- we were vegetarian then -- but the dark side became strong and over powered our compassion. From then until today life has become a see-saw of brutality and compassion. It will remain that way until there is no need for materialism. By the way, since this thread I have spoke to a number or friends and strangers and asked them to define Natural Law and most said they thought it meant dog-eat-dog. So, if we are to live by Natural law it is important to define our concepts of it and to start behaving by the rules and regulations that they augment. Until I see this moral theory of Natural Law in action I will remain a Universalist (which is my version of Natural Law). So, I think that covers all four planks? Please let me know if I need to expound on the points above.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Robert, there is no question that organized religions have perpetrated great atrocities throughout history. Socialism, with its subsideraries, Communism and Fascism, as practiced Statist Theocracies in pursuit of their Atheist utopias, have dwarfed any and all earlier religious atrocities. Since the advent of Christ, Such believers have individually been the most charitable, helpful, philanthropic, etc. force the world has ever known. By way of a very terse example: my trips to hurricane and flood efforts to help, have evidenced far, far, far more relief from volunteering Christians than any other efforts, individual or collective - including government. AND, for the reasons you've given, that is why the founders separated secular natural / positive law from religious cannons. That was part of the genius of the Constitution. Constitutional law / justice (the law of nature or of nature's God, positive, or natural law), freedom and liberty does not give life (but rather defines its actions) have nothing to do with fairness (<-a religious abstract) or giving to one or another. All are equal before the law. Because law / justice may not operate on a time table suitable to you, does not mean it must answer to any one or thing. The original definition of liberalism is far different than it is now and once defined to movement to freedom; today it defines a move to despotism and tyranny. I may be the most Christ believing individual you've ever conversed with and, I'm in full accord with you concerning religious re-defining of natural law. It does not match the founders understanding because it does not reference religious cannon but rather, secular law. The God reference only designates a source, not the applied regularity (physics, gravity, larceny, murder, etc.), Robert, I would ask, why aren't Atheists stepping up where you would have Christians or Muslims. Its been my experience that the government controlled media will not give a word on Christian efforts to correct any wrong. Christians only get attention when in the Atheistic press sees advantage in expounding even the smallest fault (and there be many - there is no fairness in relaying religious faults - Christians get the lion's share) By the way, the dog eat dog reference to natural law reverts back to public education's dumbing down and the ignorant propagating the innocent / the law of nature being the survival of the fittest. Like liberalism has been misused, abused, and redefined, so it is with natural law (you gave one example of religious abuse - there are others.). Just because people change the definition of words, terms, and concepts so all understanding is lost but the eternal law manifest the same.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Please provide examples of "Statist Theocracies in pursuit of their Atheist utopias" that is surely a contradiction -- you are in essence saying that a centralized theocratic government are in pursuit of an Atheist utopia - Mike, sorry, but I must be missing your meaning, please explain. Isn't a centralized theocratic government religious? Your comment with regard to Christians individually being most charitable is true in part but the Christian Church is not governed by individuals its governed by the Vatican and other religious leaders who are most definitely responsible for the most outrageous of atrocities. Just the killing of the indigenous populations of central and South America is proof enough -- and that is just one example of hundreds if not thousands of similar atrocities. The Christian faith has brought nothing but misery to the world I have yet to see otherwise -- their intolerance for equality is beyond belief and yet you stand there and defend this abominable demagoguery. Is your faith so blind that you are unable to see the evil that emanates from the pulpits of self righteous demagogues? I sincerely believe you are a good person and like many other individual Christians; the key here is the word 'individual'. As I have often said Christianity has good people doing bad things (with bad people, it's their nature to do bad things). You say that "all are equal before the law" what if the law is not equally fair to all concerned? The life you illustriously portray is not the life of reality but of fantasy; it's life born from theory, myth, and faith not from the practical world that we all live in. Also, how the hell do you infer from my previous comment that I should dictate when law should be appropriate or should wait for my bidding? Liberalism today is the same with regard to its original meaning, the problem is that the word has been manipulated by self interest, by self-righteous bigots to inflame morons and ignite mayhem. Liberalism is kindness towards those who are less fortunate than those who have become wealthy on the backs of the poor. If you are a Christian you must know the most famous Liberal of all, Christ. TED Kennedy, is a wonderful example of a Liberal -- he may not have been a saint but he by sure made up for his indiscretions. It was the Liberal movement that started the Bill of Rights and other documents legislating equal rights for all Americans regardless of position, wealth, race, sexual orientation, and religion. It is liberals, who you should thank, that allows you to have the freedom of religion, and the freedom of speech. It was liberals who stop the horrors of racism, provided equal right for black Americans, and was responsible for the civil rights movement. It was liberals that fought for a livable wage and was responsible for the minimum wage laws. It was liberals that gave you the Americans Disability Act. It was liberals that gave us free health care for the children from poor families who could not afford health insurance. It was liberals that gave us a strong middle class that freed us from the great depression. It was Liberals that implemented national unemployment insurance. It was liberals that provided medical care for the disabled and those unable to care for themselves. It was liberals that gave us Social Security that provides pensions to all Americans regardless of economic status (in actual fact the wealthy get bigger pensions); this is not a free as everyone pays into the program. It was liberals that gave us free or low cost public education for all children regardless of wealth. It was liberals that legislated funding and services for the disadvantage in our communities. It was liberals that gave us the family leave act. It was liberals that defeated sexism in America. It was liberals that brought us victory over the fascists in WWII. And, it is my experience that all liberals strive for the common welfare of all peoples of the world and they continue with that dream today. The list of great liberal achievements goes on, and by now you must be wondering what the hell you are talking about when you very foolish imply that Liberals are tyrannical despots -- where do you get that $%#@ from. Mike, I know your heart is in the right place but it is wrong to call Liberals the names you do as it is totally unfounded. I am a liberal, and for a fact, not one liberal I know fits your description of Liberals, so there must be a tremendous disconnect somewhere. I have found Liberals to be compassionate, well meaning, and always in the promotion of helping humanity, without the need to resort to terrible destructive dialogue. On the other hand, I have found the Republican Party (perhaps the far-right) rise to power by unfounded inflammatory rhetoric, and used liberalism as a punch-bag to promote their personal or party agenda. Mike, what do you want Atheists to step up to -- I didn't get that point. Atheists do not have the herd mentality and do not form religious groups, governments, etc. We don't go about shouting Atheist this Atheist that -- we have no face on our Atheism -- we have no need to as we are individuals and do not belong to the Vatican or any other formulized group. The biggest joke of all in your last comment was your reference to the media being Atheistic -- do you realize who owns most of the media? Who owns the fight against Americans having equality, again, the list is long. By the way, words may be changed with regard to their modern interpretation but that is wrong -- there are 70 or more Celtic words in the English dictionary and they mean the same today as they did over 2000 years ago (one word is Kill).
     -- RBESRQ     
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    I think you guys need to acquaint yourselfs with The Lotus Sermon. That was when the Buddhist Holy man called his disciples together for a sermon. When he was introduced he just stood there holding the lotus flower and said nothing for a period of ltime. He then said "the sermon is ended" and asked his disciples what the sermon meant. All disciples except one had somewhat to say about this silent sermon. But one disciple said nothing and the Holy leader said that that disciple was the one who was true to the spirit of The Lotus Sermon and should be the Leader upon his retirement. Speak truth and then shut up is what the sermon meant. The flower spoke beauty and creation. Expounding was usless especially to dullards. It is sad that Mike thinks in such narrow group think kind of ways. Who can believe that he actually thinks that government people are not Christians or that Christians are not government people. No wonder he sees in black and white calling public schools "state schools" and non Christian and anti God. The kids I know in my town that go to his so called state schools all go to churches and they don't need or want the community schools to teach them about God, nor did the founding fathers. Mike is the one who wishes school to be a dictator about things like that.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Robert, I've given multiple definitions of religion (legal, conceptual, practical, court decision, etc.) Atheism in practice is every bit as much a religion as Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, etc. Beyond the definitions, in practical application: Theism, as a religion, is mostly a belief system in an extra human phenomenon. 'A' theism, as a religion, is mostly a belief system in anti theism and all other belief systems. When any religion's cannons mix with secular law (physics, gravity, fiscal, political, etc.) it becomes a theocracy. A centralized (statist) theocracy is when one (1) or, a small group forces its belief system (secular / natural / positive, etc. law irrevocably blended with religious cannon) on the whole. Statist theocracies in pursuit of atheistic utopias were Hitler's Germany (murdering a minimum of 6 million Jews, and 11 million Christians), Mao's China (murdering 10s of millions of competing religionists), the union of soviets millions of mass murders, etc. These examples do not contradict my statist theocracy statement. Robert, again, history stands as witness to all organized theocracies atrocities (Atheist, Catholic, crusades, etc.) My experience is practical and first hand, is yours? When I've regularly taken my family to help prepare meals for the hungry, built homes and other buildings, gone to help the immediate needy (natural disasters, impoverished areas, etc.), assisted in free clothing / blankets / tents / medicine distribution, doing job counseling, etc. there have always been far, far, far more Christians there than any other group (individually or in concert, organized or other wise - including government). That isn't blind, that's practical application vision. My belief is, you don't have to be of any religion, ('A'theist to 'Z'en) to have charitable inclinations toward your fellow man but, its been my, first hand, experience that Christians are for the most part, the most carrying and giving people on the planet. With that level of carrying, I have also experienced the extreme opposite. Christian's for a buck, life style preference, status, etc. are some of the most bigoted, hateful, and criminal individuals on the planet. Fair is not a lawful concept, it is a religious abstract that is up to individual interpretation. What do you mean: "The life you illustriously portray is not the life of reality but of fantasy"? The examples I've given of me, and my family is correct. Are you speaking of Christianity in general? I've also had Christian friends go to Africa to dig wells, teach farming, set up food distribution networks, etc., all at their own expense. Liberalism to day is the most detrimental to freedom, liberty, and personal responsibility of any ism in todays market of isms. Liberalism is quickly approaching the liberalism of Hitler, Lennon, Mao, etc. It was liberalism that gave us the great depression and extended it through its un-sound theocratic fiscal activities. AND, like I said, the definition of liberal was far different at the founding of this nation than it was in the 20th Century. Liberalism helped give the concepts of freedom and liberty that established this country and its Constitution. It is Liberalism in the 21st Century that is destroying what Liberalism addressed in the 18th century. Of the names you say I call liberals, I also call conservatives, Christians, Ateists, etc. - that is, anyone that would support compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, larceny with impunity or anything that would diminish the individual sovereign's expression of any right; at his choosing. Atheists have both individual and herd mentalities - just like everybody else. Where are the great philonthropic Atheists, individually or in concert? You and I may participate in assisting our fellow man while churches have their good and bad. Where is the orchestrated efforts of atheists, outside governmental tyranny (Atheists form governments), to help our fellow man? Are you saying Atheists are anarchists? I don't have personal knowledge of who specifically is the media's puppeteer(s) but it/they is/are definitely pro Atheism and anti Christianity. As to Waffler, its impossible to discuss with the pridefully ignorant, especially when the vast majority of his perceptions and accusations are lies.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Mike obviously sees his own and his group as superior in motive and in results to any other charitable efforts especially those organized and orchestrated by "government". I am surronded by people who only see the world from their owm little corner and think that their little town mentality is the way New York, London, and Bombay should be run. People have to have a way to rise above self and see a bit of a larger piece of the world.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Waffler, are you saying that helping in superior ways and numbers (at great personal expense - monetarily and physically) does not illustrate superior motives and results? Are you saying that people from big cities aren't charitable or, don't need to be? Only small city folk are charitable? AND, little town folk aren't of a same mentality equivalent to big city dwellers? How does voluntarily being individually charitable (or in a group) equate to little town mentality and the way big cities should be run? The government did a good job of clean up after Katrina but, they showed up after many other helping individuals and groups (paying their own way to help). And, for at least a year, there were still far more volunteering non-government helpers in the process of helping than any tax paid assistance. Most of who I saw were Christian individuals and groups, but there were others. Waffler, I assume you're writing your dribble just to see ignorance in print. Waffler, I see the larger portion of the world and I prefer liberty, freedom, personal responsibility, charity, and the ability to volunteer (not to be compelled or stolen from).
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    I absolutely commend and support any charitalbe work done by you. That you are so negative about work done by governments anywhere and everywhere seemingly around the world is what concerns me.
     -- Anonymous     
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    I have absolutely no problem with any government anywhere at any time helping the needy or those that might benefit from temporary assistance. I do have a problem with compelled compliance, license, victimless crimes, and larceny with impunity of any type. Forced charity is not charity. Charity or assistance extended by means of stolen finances or other where-with-all is a crime (especially if the government does it) not charity. Constitutional government is not in the business of charity, it is in the business administering law and justice. Religion is in the business of charity.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Mike, sorry for the late reply, I have been building a wall and gates (if Churchill can do it so can I). Your logic and argument is beyond comprehension with regards to Atheism being a religion. I have told you many times that Atheism is not religion and yet you obviously do not read what I write. Let me repeat myself: ATHEISM IS NOT A RELIGION OR A FAITH! (by the way, faith has nothing to do with it) If Atheism is a religion, a faith, then why are you and your fellow Christians against having Atheism taught in schools as religious education? There is a whole stream of subjects that religion has that are contrary to Atheism and if that is the case by definition it cannot be called a Religion. Atheists are not in pursuit of anything, much to your chagrin, re your remark on Utopia. Atheism believes in the absence of God and the reality of life as science reveals it. It would be like saying; because you are a non-believer of the Muslim faith that your faith in that opinion makes you religious. It■s really very simple Atheist's do not believe that God exists, period ■ there is no cult or need for us to prove there is no God, we don't go to church like buildings to congregate or praise atheism. On the contrary, if you provide proof that God exists then we may change our opinion - and that's what I like about atheism we are willing to listen and change our opinion once you have presented evidence of your Christian God. On the other hand, Christians have been presented with scientific proof that evolution exists - even the Vatican and Canterbury now agree with evolution. Is it because you are religious you must have everyone religious so that you have your position in society on an equal footing. By the way you are incorrect with regards to Hitler, he was religious, he even had on his belt buckle these words ■God with us■ (it was in Latin). If people were non-believers in Mao's China there wouldn■t been 20 million killed. The Mongols and Catholics slaughtered millions throughout the world because of religion, and as I said in my previous post, the list is VERY long. Once again; Atheists are non-believers in the existence of God, of miracles, of blasphemy, of prayer (prayer may be an exception because in old English it means "A Request"), of heaven and hell, of an afterlife, of the soul, of a belief in the supernatural/Angels, or any act of worship. We have no agenda to prove anything. We do not hold any office or position as Atheists and we most certainly do not hold faith as a virtue. In actual fact atheists have freedom from the demands of religion though they always demand a moral and ethical society and this has nothing to do with religion or faith. How dare the religious think they are more virtuous, more moral and ethical than non-believers. It has been my experience throughout my travels around the world that quite the reverse is often the case. Perhaps this will help clarify my position: http://atheism.about.com/library/FAQs/ath/blathm_rel_religion.htm and http://atheism.about.com/od/christianismnationalism/p/XianNationalism.htm I will not stoop to the conversation with regards to providing a list of philanthropic deeds, suffice to say, I■m a Rotarian, belonging to the largest service organization in the world with 1.2 million members. We are responsible, with the WHO, Bill Gates, and respective CDC■s in eradicating Polio world-wide. Atheists may believe in science like some Christians do, we may also believe in evolution, because all these are provided by proof, if you wish to not believe in evolution that■s fine too (read Dawkin■s latest book ■The Greatest Show on Earth■), but the facts are there and the majority of scientists agree that man was at one time a primate and that we crawled out of the sea. I do not have faith in this scientific knowledge I have an opinion based on science. Atheists do not have faith in any God or religious myth - religion is a belief system, the key word here is system. Science, above all else, should concentrate on GETTING AMERICA BACK ON TRACK, because without it there will be no science. This can only occur if we all direct our efforts towards changing our present form of government into an ethical and moral instrument because Christianity hasn■t worked ■ we need to give science a chance . Then we will have a platform on which to build; presently the platform is quicksand. Science can only be achieved in an enlightened society and we are fast becoming unenlightened. With regards to health care: If you try taking away the national health system from other western civilized countries, you will have a WWIII on your hands - the NHS is revered around the world which is why MANY Americans travel to Britain to have medical procedures carried out especially if they have no insurance. Mexico is complaining that they are getting many Americans who only visit Mexico to have medical procedures performed, the same with Canada. It■s a joke that the most affluent (soon not to be) county in the world has no health policy for the uninsured unless they are nearly dead - it a disgrace to humanity. Christians are meant to help the poor but when it comes to health care they are told sorry, no do - what absolute hypocrisy. This country is losing its moral and ethical ground (not that it■s been very good this last thirty years) and when that happens (it may have already happened) then chaos will ensue. Lastly, faith has nothing to do with religion, I have faith that my lover loves me, is that a religion? I will not stoop to the conversation with regards to providing a list of philanthropic deeds, suffice to say, I■m a Rotarian, belonging to the largest service organization in the world with 1.2 million members. We are responsible, with the WHO, Bill Gates, and respective CDC■s in eradicating Polio world-wide. So, lets get off the subject of Atheism being a religion and move on.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Robert, your definition and all legal definitions of religion (dictionaries, court cases, quotes, history, etc.) are at odds, one with the other. If Atheists have a belief system that there is no God, by definition, Atheism is a religion. Your life's reality is based on mountains of speculation and faith which as of yet, has no absolute scientific proof to back up your religion. You have never read anything from me where I have objected to Atheism being taught. In fact, I have written many many times that I would prefer to have 'A'theism to 'Z'en taught in school instead of the implied atheism as is antagonistic to all other belief systems. I believe there are many truths in all religions (including Atheism) as all derive from different experiences and some express such truths / ideas better than others. I remember a book I read a few years ago, from a Hindu perspective, that explained the need for a Christ, better than the bible does. The bible basically just says, here's the Christ and some of his teachings, believe it or not; with no explanation of why. To be saved is the only answer; and what does saved mean? Its taken more research to find that answer. You are right about faith, especially from an original Hebrew meaning (not Greek) not being an accurate depiction of most religious interaction. Your philosophical defining religion, the interpreted opposite of one religion does not make a non-religion is flawed and been proven wrong, over and over again. Any time a belief system is acted upon, especially as did Hitler, Lennon, Mao in murdering off believers of all competing religions, such religion though not given a specific title is a religion nonetheless. In Mao's Atheist utopia, it didn't matter if you were a hard core communist, if you were a Buddhist Monk, you had to be sacrificed for the sake of the end goal. Lennon and Mao belonged to another facit of the Atheist religion than your "moral and ethical" society. You keep trying to hide behind a very narrow definition of religion as though it only referred to the tenants of select Christian church. Hitler vane claimed being Christian, much like Obama ("I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction." (Obama, Audacity of Hope)), to gain power. Once in Power Hitler followed most closely the (the Christian identified or titled) occult choosing to believe that man was God. Hitler■s cult was science (including the proving and controlling of that which was beyond the five senses) with no need to prove there was a God, he didn't go to church, he didn't believe in miracles, blasphemy, prayer (prayer may be an exception because in old English it means "A Request"), heaven or hell, an afterlife, the soul, a belief in the supernatural/Angels, any act of worship. He had no agenda to prove anything (maybe other than Germans were a superior race). He did not hold any office or position as an Atheist and he most certainly did not hold faith as a virtue. In actual fact, Hitler, as an atheist had no demands placed on him from Christ's, or any other religion's teachings. His pursuit was an Atheist's utopia of a moral and ethical society. You can no more prove to me through science that there was: a creation, other than a God implemented one; or an evolution of species than I can disprove such (in science or religion) I would disagree with you that science will not get America on track but law. When America once again places its states in harmony with law and justice, America will return to being great. I do believe science can progress in an enlightened, liberated, and free society. As to your health care scenario, it is only half the story. Health care is only a right. I have spoken with doctors that have moved out of the US because it is too expensive to practice. More babies die from birth the many other industrialized countries.Of the many Mexicans I've spoken with, all like the American's coming for medical services because it brings in much need finances. There are problems with Americas medical system but it can only be made worse by the liberal / neo-con proposed government intervention. I don't mind moving on and getting off the subject of Atheism being a religion. If it makes you comfortable that your moral and ethical belief system isn't a religion, that's ok with me but, we should not continue finding fault in each others religion, as there has been much good and bad done in such names and titles.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Wow, quite the debate. All I can add is that it seems that whenever any idea or organization that has any good within it and catches the ear of enough, those with evil intent go into action and corrupt, confuse and destroy any good that could be accomplished and that's why man ultimately can only rely and act upon the good he can discover within his own heart and spirit because that is his only defense against the evil in the world.
     -- Anon     
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    Mike, you obviously just want to read what you say, I have said time and time again that Atheism is not a belief system - does that mean because I do not believe in Murder that it is a religion - give me a break. Hoe can you have truths in Atheism when it's definition by ALL scholars agree that it means a non-believer PERIOD. Hitler was religious - he even thought God was on his side. Most religions are just myths, including the Christian religion. Religion is today, even more so what it was in the Middle Ages, hateful, intolerant, and nearly always judgmental. God help us if Mitt Romney gets any where near the White House. In 94 he was for abortion and gay rights - listen to him in 2008. This kind of hypocrisy is rampant nearly in all religious circles - even the pope now agrees with evolution. The moral and ethical tenets of Christianity have always been second if not last when it come to taking the high ground. Please do not preach to me about Christian morals and ethics; I have seen to much double talk and unethical behavior on their behalf. I would rather trust an Atheist any day if given the choice and I speak from experience. Atheism only has one rule and that is not believing in any Gods - its really very simple. Please do not make it complicated just to turn the words to help your agenda. An Atheist can believe in anything and still be a Atheist - very different to the rules that the religious operates. Atheist certainly have philosophies by which they live but they are still Atheists. Atheism is not an understanding its just has one common meaning NON-BELIEVER. Whats very confusing is that you have used parts of my previous post and I'm not sure where I end and you begin. Lastly, Atheist do not have a need for the dictates of others or Gods - there is nothing to guard but our own integrity and if that's a religion perhaps I'm really religious. Anon, well said - within your SELF, that's where the will to fight evil comes from.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Robert, just because you say something for your own personal gradification or justification, it doesn't necessarily make it so. All scholars? Maybe all liberal Atheist scholars. It was a scholar in law school that, reading from court cases, best explained why and how Atheism is a religion. Because you have demonized religion so long you can't accept that you are of a religion that doesn't put a title to itself (to escape your/its own condemnation) Your extremely narrow and deficient definition of religion not only negates religion's full meaning but, it guarantee's an erroneous outcome to any succeeding discussion. Because you will not accept the full legal definition of religion you will never understand the difference between secular law and religious cannons. By way of example: murder is an issue at secular law, not religion. If an Atheist can believe in anything and still be an Atheist, can an Atheist believe in God and still be an Atheist. Hitler thought God was on his side because of his interpretation of god and science (man being god and all evidence proving German's to be superior, with fascism (socialism) man's ultimate governmental expression) Ultimate Atheism does not believe in an extra human experience; that life came to be by a scientifically explainable accident and evolution was a survival of the fittest adaptability. Nothing more, nothing less. Morals, virtue, integrity, right / wrong are all abstracts of religion. Any time an Atheist adopts religious attributes and philosophies from other religions it morphs into a subcategory religion. One legal definition of religion is: "real piety in practice, consisting in the performance of all known duties to ... our fellow men." (Bouviers Law Dictionary - I've given 10s of legal dictionary and other definitions besides this one) Any time an Atheist acts on his own belief system (non-believer or otherwise) and acts to reduce, eliminate, or in anyway contrary to other belief systems / religions / individuals-groups performances (in schools, public arenas, anywhere, etc.) that piety in practice defines the Atheist's acts as those of a religion.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Robert, being a believer or non believer in an extra human experience has little if anything to do with the definition of religion. If you want to say only organized Christians, Jews, etc. are religions, and all else is non religion, that would leave Buddhism, etc. and individuals that don't associate to any sect, non members of a religion. The non-member of any organized sect would fit all your definitions of an Atheist.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Robert, if Atheists were as honorable and seekers of truth and law as you say, they would be as ardently against governmentally recognized gay marriage as they would be about the government making such religious ordinance illegal without its special privilege (license) and many benefits. Once the secular government had returned to a rule of law (natural law - eliminating religious canons from its recognition, statutes, and enforcement), anyone, gay or otherwise could freely enter into the religious sacrament of marriage. To know the full meaning of religion, secular law (natural / Constitutional law) and religious canons is to be able to act in truth for freedom and liberty.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Please provide these objective dictionary references re: religion and known authors that say Atheism is a Religion.
     -- RBESRQ     
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    An interesting monologue above Robert. I find your argument logical and lucid. As for Mike never. As far as religion I dunno. I quote and admire the words of Jesus, does that make me religious, I dunno. I will acknowledge that Marx gave opinions and agreed with many socio-economic practices used around the world today, does that make those users communists, I don't think so. Mike talks about all law should be Natual or God Given Law. Yet the Bible clearly says "Remember the Sabbath Day for God made the earth in six days and rested on the Seventh" does Mike keep that law of God. Mike is the biggest hypocrite, least logical writer, and biggest phony on these pages. He claims to support The Constitution which set up a law making branch called Congress but then Mike says law can only come from God. I think he denies and is a traitor to The Constitution and the Nation.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Robert, off the top of my head, I've quoted an early Black's, LeBarron's, Rutgers, Harvard Law Review, The Law Dictionary, Words and Phrases, Am Jur, and ... ?, besides the Bouvier's above. Waffler, there is only so much I can say, so many examples I can give so, I can't explain law to the pridefully ignorant that has a despotic agenda to fulfill (that's you Waffler). Waffler, such comments coming from you toward me are taken in honor and as high praise. I did say only God can make law. The Constitution did not set up a law making branch but rather, a branch to make codes, ordinances, regulations, rules, statutes, etc. that were to harmonize with law. By way of tradition, because such codes - statutes were / are to represent law's administration, being a harmonious definition thereof, the term law was transferred to the subordinate administrating definition. Waffler, only a despot and slave hearted / minded tyrant would not recognize the difference between a law and its representative.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Do you Sir keep God's Ten Commandments. Are they LAW in your book including the 4th commandment requireing the keeping of the Seventh Day holy. Do you sir do you?
     -- Waffler     
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    Waffler, are you now my new Father confessor? To your inquiry, I still yet transgress as to the laws covered by religious cannons (Hebrew definition, not Greek - too much explanation for this blog) I am much better at those laws covered by secular codes- statutes. You've raised a very interesting question. Do you have a check list as to what qualifies for keeping the Seventh Day holy? How many steps can I take on Saturday? Is watching College Football a sin? Is eating out or grocery shopping, making others work on the Sabbath, a sin? Is boating or doing other than worshiping on the Sabbath just a little sin or non-compliance? I'd almost be interested on how you spend your Saturdays. What is your check list to make my Saturday a commandment filling Sabbath - please don't forget and scriptural references, no matter how important or obscure.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    oops, I meant don't forget 'all' scriptural references. You would want me to be in full compliance wouldn't you sir, wouldn't you?
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Hi ya all, This is a great discussion. Only one question to spice this up or give an alternative preception maybe with the hope to contribute. Everyone is argumenting on if Socialism is a religion. Maybe we should turn this arround and see if religions are social systems of organisation and social codes/structures and behaviours instead? Please note (and simplify instead of just arguing in word labyrinths) that neither National "Socialism" of Hitler, nor Communist "socialism" are in reality applied socialism. Socialism as a notion is based on the root of SOCIAL. That being said, I am no pro neither against it, just trying to make the point that "socialism" nowadays may be perceived by different people in different ways and as mentioned above, going to the principles and not its historical abuses, might lead us to understand better its vision. Socialsm is to many equal to comunism which is not true at all. That said, also capitalism contradicts Cristian (and to that effect almost every religion out there) in terms of sharing with the peron next to you...when was the last time a banker gave any of you 5000000USD_??? what I am trying to say I guess is, that controversies exist all over, through christian-republican, or cristian-democrat, or Russian Communist or whatever... so are you willing to talk about the up to now application of what where philosophical models of social organisation or to their evolvement in various application models with their differentiation? Is not money in itself power and religion today? does that make capitalism bad? Not necessarely in my perception but the same applies for all political ideological frameworks (I exclude radicals of any kind as personal choice of not accepting extremist ideologies from this conversation, as I do from my life). Thakn you and I hope my comment to be constructive. my best of regards to all, George.
     -- George K, Athens Greece     
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    Just a clarification relevant to the quote, I do not agree with it in its strict notion as expressed but Gramsci is not arround anymore to explain. I believe the "religion" is an euphimism as used here as part of "political speech". I for one believe that free mind and educated opinion should be the "religion" if any, when it comes to pluralist multicultural and even global societies, should we want to overcome the cultural differences that makes our world so rich and creative, while can be obstacles in our communication in many cases.
     -- George K., Athens Greece     
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    Wholly smoke, can't add to the reams of print here so I'll just give it 5 stars.
     -- jim k, Austin     
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    George, very simply; socialism "is any of various economic and political theories advocating collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods" (Meriam-Webster dictionary), not some hypathetical "root of SOCIAL". When said theories are implemented by moral imperative or ethical right a theocracy is born. Communism, fascism, progressivism advocate and implement collective or governmental ownership and administration of the means of production and distribution of goods - (all are differing forms of socialism) Original definitions of capitalism were to the individual that had excess capital (a tangible representation of labor (having intrinsic value in and of itself)) that would invest in a project other than himself. Capitalism does not contradict Christianity or Christian charity - the two have nothing to do with each other (even considering the talents parable) How is comparing a Banker's secular duties to Christian charity an illustration of anything? Capitalism and the religion of socialism are antithetical one to another. George, your mis-understandings, mis-direction, mis-statements and new liberal definitions of words and concepts would take more to correct than even this conversation on this blog could adequately address. (-; maybe ;-)
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Five stars to the quotation, people should research the Frankfurt school and cultural Marxism to go along with this quotation.
    A lot of great discussion going on here about how atheism is in reality a religion of which I firmly believe is true, its chief competitor is Christianity and its target for annihilation because only by destroying Christianity can they bring their socialist utopia to fruition. How you can look at the world the solar system and the universe and not see a grand design and a designer in it is remarkable.
    I have witnessed the utter futility of Mike and Archer and others to debate certain other folks here providing all the necessary information to confirm their comments as true but yet it is like going in one ear and out the other, the atheists /socialist here even quote Scripture and as we know Satan himself can do that but one scripture comes to mind after reading what these folks have said and their rejection of rebuttal. No doubt they will take this wrong!

    "Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you." - Matthew 7:6
     -- Mike, Pleasant Hill     
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     -- Mary - MI      
    Wow! this quote is way out of date and I afraid your comments (though excellent) are too numerous for me to retort. Replace socialism with capitalism and Christianity with the working class (unfortunately, and rapidly, disappearing).
     -- Robert, Somewhere in Europe     
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    Once and for all atheism is not a religion.....
    atheism is the absence of belief that any deities exist..... there is no substance behind being an atheist....
     -- Robert, Somewhere in Europe     
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